Eve Decker
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Eve Decker

Berkeley, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2006

Berkeley, California, United States
Established on Jan, 2006
Solo Folk Acoustic




"Eve Decker: Simple Truth"

With a storied Bay Area career dating back to the feminist folk trio Rebecca Riots, Eve Decker has emerged with a new CD that offers a broad scope, from neopolitical to Buddhist spokeswoman, with a flair for songs that bring forth "dharma folk". At her recent Freight and Salvage CD release party, she had a fabulous band (which appears on the CD), a joyfully sweet vibe, and each song was an expression of Buddhist teachings on love, death, service, surrender, tending the Earth, aging, and living with joy. From the cover art by the noted Irene Young to production by Julie Wolf (Indigo Girls, Ani DiFranco) and the title song produced by long time admirer and friend Jennifer Berezan, this is a beautiful offering and a treasure to savor. Jennifer writes, "Eve Decker's music has been a source of living dharma for me. I am inspired, calmed, and reminded of what truly matters when I listen to her wonderful songs."

Eve sings and writes songs around themes found in Buddhist philosophy within the context of ordinary human experience. This album also involves re-recordings of a number of songs she wrote during her time with Rebecca Riots. "Gardener" is about how our intentions can shape our experience. "Cemetery" reflects using and understanding of impermanence to love more fully. The anthem "Women's Bodies" moves past toxic conditioning about what makes female bodies more beautiful, instead seeing their beauty as they are. There is also a version of the "Dedication of Merit" (a beautiful prayer wishing all beings well) by Reverend Heng Sure (the abbot of the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery) with music by Loreena McKennit. Throughout the songs are great lines and lyrics galore. "The Buddha would dig it!" says the Marin Independent. I promise that you will too. Evedecker.com - by Lloyd Barde - Common Ground: The Bay Area's Magazine for Conscious Community

"Perfecting Folk"



THE FREIGHT AND SALVAGE is the oldest acoustic music club west of the Mississippi, but when the MC introduced the headliner, she was a bit baffled.

“We’ve been presenting the best in acoustic and traditional music since 1968,” she said. “But what you’re going to see tonight isn’t acoustic, and it isn’t traditional—I don’t know what to call it.” The audience helped her out, shouting in unison: “Dharma folk!”

Commentaries on Perfections of the Heart was conceived in 2003, during Eve Decker’s three-month retreat at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. In the spring of 2005, Decker enrolled in Bonnie O’Brien Jonsson’s “A Year to Live” course, inspired by Stephen Levine’s book of the same title. Faced with the notion of imminent death, Decker realized that her priority in life was to create
an album based on her retreat, where she practiced the ten paramis,
or perfections, of Buddhahood.

The paramis (or paramitas, in the Mahayana tradition) are the attributes of an open, awakened heart. “When a being is perfectly enlightened,” the CD liner notes explain, “these ten qualities are fully ripened and realized.”

There are over five hundred Christian rock radio stations in the U.S.,
but not one, so far, showcasing dharma folk. If there were such a station, Decker would be a mainstay.

Many of the songs on her previous albums, with a female trio called
Rebecca Riots, had Buddhist themes; but Commentaries cuts to the chase, stripping away metaphor and diving directly into the basics.

There’s a disarming literalism in the ten songs (one for each parami), which begin with “Generosity” and continue through “Equanimity.” The refrain to “Virtue,” for instance, seems like a teaching set to music:

Do no harm to other living beings
Don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t use
Hurt no one with your sexuality
And you’re on your way to virtue.

Lyrics always seem flat on the page, yet Decker’s melodies, and her luscious, inventive phrasing, give them the power of a transmission. I try to imagine my own lama getting up in his robes and singing about formlessness and practice, but it’s easier to visualize him in a karaoke bar, belting out Hotel California.

At The Freight & Salvage CD release concert, I saw almost no one between the ages of twelve and forty. It makes sense; people in
the breeding window would rather hear ballads about bouncing in the back seat of a Chevy than Buddhist odes forbidding sexual misconduct. But a few of the songs on Commentaries cross over, and could be covered by anyone from The Postal Service
to Emmylou Harris (whose songs are sometimes covered by Decker). One of these is “Wisdom,” a haunting song adapted from the thirteenth-century Genjokoan of the Zen master Dogen. Another is “Patience,” written by Decker’s younger brother Joe. (Joe’s twin, Ben, is her bass player and co-producer.) It’s as beautiful a ballad as I’ve ever heard, and definitely deserves a few weeks of national airplay:

Here I go on another road to nowhere
Try to learn that patience is not just quiet despair
If I can bring the storm into my open heart
It won’t have the strength to quietly
blow me apart

Decker has terrific backup support, from the sharp, powerful accompaniment of Lisa Zeller on guitar to the rich harmonies supplied by singers Kathy Kallick, Andrea Prichett, and Patty Spiglanin (whose own band, the Naked Barbies, doesn’t shy from those backseat ballads I mentioned).

While cuts like “Wisdom” and “Equanimity” are almost dharma lullabies, some of Decker’s tunes will have you bouncing on your zafu—even when they address the toughest nuts of dharma practice.

“Renunciation” is one example: it’s the kind of song that even a career cynic like me can sing along with (in the privacy of my own
home, of course). And listening to “Determination,” you can’t help but admire the stark simplicity of unadorned Buddhist truth, coming at you in 4/4 time:

Listening to wisdom,
Enduring the body’s pain
Careful investigation of whatever’s happening
Peace is not our birthright,
But it’s not a siren’s call
It’s in unwavering dedication
To the welfare of us all - Tricycle Magazine

"New Genre: Dharma Folk"

Marin Independent Journal San Rafael, CA
by Paul Liberatore

Marin has a national reputation for its contributions to rock history. Now the county can claim the distinction of being the birthplace of a new and esoteric genre - dharma folk music. Because Marin is also known for its alternative spiritual practices, it seems only natural that such a musical style would evolve here, springing from the pastoral surroundings of West Marin's Spirit Rock Meditation Center, the phenomenally successful Buddhist community in Woodacre.

"Dharma folk music in the west is a relatively new thing," says singer-songwriter Eve Decker, a retreat manager at Spirit Rock. "Buddhism in the East has chanting, and there is lyrical music for other spiritual traditions, but dharma music as a popular form for regular folks is just being born in the last decade or so."

Decker grew up in Mill Valley, has recorded "Commentary on Perfections of the Heart," an acoustic folk-pop album based on the 10 paramis (teachings) of Buddhism - generosity, virtue, renunciation, wisdom, energy, patience, truthfulness, determination, loving-kindness and equanimity.

"Eve Decker writes a wise and witty lyric, and has a voice that carries our deepest longings and fulfillment," said Wes "Scoop" Nisker, a radio personality, meditation teacher and author. "She is one of the true artists of our new Western dharma spiritual movement."

Inspired to write a Buddhist song cycle during a three-month silent meditation retreat, Decker collaborated on the songs with friends, fellow musicians and family members.

She brings in stellar musicians such as Mike Marshall and Kathy Kallick, as well as former Rebecca Riots band members Lisa Zeiler and Andrea Prichett.

The Buddha would dig it. - Marin Independednt Journal San Rafael, CA

"Eve Decker at Victoria Insight Center"

Last weekend, the Johnny Cash of the Buddhist world, folk singer Eve Decker, led a musical Vipassana retreat at Goward House. Like Johnny, Eve shares her life experiences through her gift of music. Mix in her commitment to the Buddhist path, her recent Community Dharma Leader training from Spirit Rock, CA and bang – you get the conditions to create one heck of a great retreat.

No one was more surprised than me when I found myself hitting the registration button on the IMS website for this retreat. A retreat by way of music and chanting seemed a bit out of my comfort zone. Chanting brought up images of all of us holding hands, swaying and smiling while offering our collective suffering up to the gods. Thank goodness, that even though I have no musical bones in my body, I pressed the button and next thing I was heading off to the retreat.

My apprehensions quickly melted as Eve began to sing and strum her guitar. Like Johnny who sang about his own experiences with god and suffering Eve incorporates her life experiences into original folk music to teach about dharma and the end of suffering.

Traditional retreat talks have always been difficult for me to understand as I have learning disabilities, especially with language. But listening to Eve share songs, poems and traditional dharma teachings I was able to feel the Buddha within me open up to her message and digest the teachings.

Eve’s voice singing the Dharma on the “Brahma Viharas” reached me deeper than words have ever been able to reach. The energy I felt was a connectedness to all things. Compassion and letting go resonated deeply though my body when we all chanted and bowed low to Kwan Yin. By adding her musical abilities to her toolkit of experience Eve Decker is an insightful Buddhist teacher and talented artist. This non-traditional Vipassana retreat was one of the best I have ever been on. - Victoria Insight Center


2014: Simple Truth produced by Julie Wolf

2006: Commentary on Perfections of the Heart produced by Ben Decker and Eve Decker

1995-2004: 5 CDs by Eve's trio Rebecca Riots, including Gardener (Appleseed Recordings); Just as Sure; Some Folks; Live at the Freight and Salvage; and Rebecca Riots.



"This is the kind of music that makes the world a better place." - DJ Kevin Vance, KALW Radio.
In 2014, Eve released her second solo CD, titled 'Simple Truth', produced by Julie Wolf (keyboardist with Carly Simon, Ani DiFranco, Dar Williams, the Indigo Girls, and many others).  She sold out the expanded (500 seat) Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, CA at the CD release concert and has gone on to perform the album throughout California (San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Davis, Danville, Benicia, Fresno, Modesto, Petaluma, Glen Ellen, Sebastopol, and more) and in Canada (Victoria, B.C.).

 A review of 'Simple Truth' in Common Ground - the Bay Area's 'Magazine for Conscious Community', says "Eve’s music is a beautiful offering and a treasure to savor."

Eve has a band of remarkable musicians who play with her when the venue would benefit from more than a solo musician. Julie Wolf, who produced 'Simple Truth', plays keyboards. Kent Welsh (Clark Kent and the Reporters, Cal Jazz Choir) plays guitar, and Ben Decker (Opal Book Club) plays bass. All band members are great singers and add fabulous harmonies.

Eve co-founded, played, recorded and toured with the female folk trio Rebecca Riots from 1995 until 2005. Rebecca Riots signed with the record company Appleseed Recordings, was dubbed “Best Band with a Conscience” by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, toured the country multiple times, released five CDs, and played stages ranging from the Vancouver Folk Festival, the Bumbershoot Festival in Washington, the Knitting Factory in NYC, colleges across the nation, and dozens of sold out shows at Berkeley’s Freight and Salvage Coffee House.

In 2006 Eve released her first solo CD, “Commentary on Perfections of the Heart”, ten original songs based on a Buddhist list of qualities that promote a contented heart. A review of the CD in Tricycle magazine said, “Decker’s melodies, and her luscious, inventive phrasing, give her songs the power of a transmission”. 

For more on Eve see her website at www.evedecker.com

Band Members